Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fortune Hunter progress update

As the school semester comes to a close here @ RIT, we find ourselves out of dedicated team members through classwork. I'll still be remaining active on the project as I always have, and anyone wishing to help or ask questions can reach me @ Some of the critical obstacles we need to overcome are still within the programming realm, but there is plenty of work for all. To my knowledge, there are no definite future plans to continue Fortune Hunter through the winter season, though we may end up with a few CS students from Florida (crossing fingers) and a few minor updates here or there from myself. There may potentially be a class next quarter that will have the ability to work on it, but again that's speculative. I have, however, added more information to our wiki ( and updated our trac list ( tremendously. Tasks are now listed for many future releases from now. This will add a lot of structure in the work-flow, which is great. There's still a whole lot more stuff to add to it, so I'll be doing that in coming weeks. The trac list will be open for public edits very shortly, with the release of Fortune Hunter 3.0, which will occur within the next day or two (will notify again after release). That's all for now - I'll post again when the release is out. This release will rid the project space of old-code (from the prototype) and begin the actual game progress track henceforth!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fortune Hunter Update

So here is an update on progress of FH as of a few days ago. The porting of the lose-condition into the game is completed. Instead of leaving the battle when your HP reaches zero, you now successfully restart the level (with the same inventory for now). The merchant system is currently under reconstruction from the ground up. It has been redesigned and is slowly progressing on the code side. A basic class has been added to the repo in MAFH2, but it is not functional or complete yet. We are still seeking a coder or two to help us fly through the scripting part. The coding has proven to take a lot longer than expected so far. Most likely we will fall short of our Release 4.0, but not my much. We are still planning on the important aspects/elements to be there. The further changes are going to probably then trickle in, with the next major release occurring after the localization process. So again, if anybody is interested in checking out the game, please shoot an email to

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Updating Fortune Hunter Wiki

I am currently in the process of parsing through and updating information on the Fortune Hunter wiki. I'll post again when it's (more) complete ; )

PS and note to any planet subscriptions - I just noticed some of my posts have been resurfacing on the Planets; I didn't notice this was happening and I apologize! Just ignore what's there for now and it shouldn't happen any more.

~KnightMearh (Jon)

Nicholas Negroponte on Colbert Report

That's right! If you haven't heard, Nicholas Negroponte was a guest on the Colbert Report on 10/25/10 promoting the cause. Hopefully they'll pull in some money which will help distribute XOs worldwide to places where the need is great. If you haven't seen yet, click the link above, but first prepare to be entertained!

Fortune Hunter Development Track

Okay folks. Following is a development track list for Fortune Hunter to the end of 2010. Hopefully we'll be hitting all our marks, but we'll at minimum be getting to a new release soon(ish). Just to mention it, we'd love to have a few experienced python coders join on at the moment. For more info on the game, you can check out our SugarLabs wiki and git repository. If you want to mess around with our prototype game version on your XO, you can obtain it from Sugar Activities. Also note we are working on a sister application, Fortune Maker, which is a tool to generate custom user content. Info on this can be found through the above links as well.

- We are currently working on implementing the lose condition and merchant systems back into the game.

*  ~ denotes blockers to release version
Week of (10/24 – 10/30)
Continue reimplementation of merchant system ~FH4
Continue reimplementation of lose condition ~FH4

Week of (10/31 – 11/6)
            Finish reimplementation of merchant system ~FH4
            Finish reimplementation of lose condition ~FH4
            Begin reimplementation of slider puzzles ~FH4
            Begin matching content from previous FH to new FH ~FH4

Week of (11/7 – 11/13)
Finish matching content & tie up any loose ends at this point ~FH4
Finish reimplementation of slider puzzles ~FH4
            Prepare and Release FH4 on 11/12 ~FH4
            Start localization process ~FH5
            Globalization review ~FH5

Week of (11/14 – 11/20)
            Playtesting ~FH5+
            Redesign FH elements ~FH5+
            Successfully read and generate FM custom content ~FH6
            If localization finished (or ASAP), prepare and release FH5 on 11/19 ~FH5
        Fortune Maker-
            Update GUI ~FM2
            Improve functionality & redesign ~FM2
            Successfully output FH maps ~FM2
            Prepare and release FM2 on 11/19 ~FM2

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pythonistas Meeting @RIT

Hey all! Just returned from a meeting of the Pythonistas hosted at RIT's Innovation Center. I mentioned the group in an earlier post, so I won't get into it. The meeting went well, the RIT students presented projects they have been working on and tried to relay code concerns to the python enthusiasts. As such, we had a chance to talk about Fortune Hunter, which I will blog a lot more about soon. I would like to point any readers in the directions of all of the presentations so they can see some very neat open source projects and potentially help out in some way.

Here is the link to check out all of the developer's blogs at the Teaching Open Source Planet

and here is the direct link to download the Fortune Hunter powerpoint (pptx/ 1Mb) presentation given tonight. It outlines a few immediate goals we are trying for in the next couple months and very briefly talks about the project.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

W3C at RIT

    I had the pleasure of checking out the W3C talk this afternoon, held in the GCCIS (building 70) auditorium at RIT. Philippe Le Hegaret [head of World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Interaction Domain] gave an awesome presentation on the future of web development. I'll let you dig into his background on your own, but his presentation covered technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, SVG, Web APIs, and MathML to name a few. He delved into HTML image generation and manipulations (such as image blurring or video rotations), web-based animations and transitions, web-based gaming, and client-side web storage. It was all very fascinating and I wish I was going through all those web development courses I've taken over the years again. He showed some awesome live manipulation of on-screen elements, images, and text all without using JavaScript! Enough talking, let me show you. I snagged the link to his presentation (all completely done using HTML5), complete with interactive demonstrations of all of the new features you can expect to see. It is definitely worth checking out.

If you like what you see, you can get at him at
twitter: plhw3org

Dan Ariely Coming to RIT

    I will spare a giant introduction, although this guy deserves it. If you haven't heard of Dan before, probably like most people, he is a behavioral economics researcher and professor at Duke University. He has also authored two books,  Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (2008), and  The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home (2010). His research is both fascinating and pretty relevant to life itself, so I truly hope you can spare a few minutes of your time to check him out.

    At very least, check out a few Ted Talks in which Dan was the guest.

    I hope by now I, or more likely Dan, has convinced you to come see him at RIT!

    He will be speaking ("Who put the monkey in the driver's seat?") on September 29th, 2010 in the Webb Auditorium @8pm. The event is completely FREE and open to the public.

    Best way to get in is to go find yourself an online campus map of RIT and park around lots E, F, G, H. Once there, make your way to building 7A, the Gannett Building. I'd love to tell you how to navigate that place, but after over 4 years of schooling here, I still have no idea. The auditorium is closest to the southern entrance, I believe. Good luck and hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Al Pacino Coming to Brick City

    Legendary actor Al Pacino will be making an appearance this year at RIT's Brick City Homecoming Weekend as a guest speaker. He'll be giving a talk at 2pm on October 16th, 2010. Check out the official news article here.

Can't wait!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pythonistas Mention

    A shout out to the Rochester Pythonistas! They are a group dedicated to Python programming language and have recently changed their meeting location to the Innovation Center at RIT in Rochester, NY. If you are interested, you can connect with them on Meetup. They meet from 7-9pm on the second Thursday of every month.

Metroid: Other M - Review

First - please make use of the labels list to the right ------------>

You can easily jump to relevant material if you are looking for something specific.

    I'm adding reviews to my blog, all revolving around technology and entertainment. My first quick review is for a recent release, Metroid: Other M, exclusive to the Nintendo Wii.

   With the Metroid Prime series completed, this is the first Metroid game on Wii to start a new story. I tend to think of it to be more like 'The Diaries of Samus Aran'. It is entirely from her perspective and the game is filled with cutscenes consisting of her inner voice explaining lots of story, usually relevant to what's going on around you. Pretty much everything about the game is very reminiscent of just about any decent anime. Still, the story is a must-experience for all Metroid fans.
    The graphics are pretty good. I tend not to weigh this too heavily. I'm one of those 'graphics aren't everything' people. I would much rather have a great game with a low quality appearance than a poor game that looks nice. Whatever type of gamer you are, the graphics in this game definitely look great.
    The game play is set as a third person side scroller, but there are times when you need to jump into a first person view to interact with objects or use missiles. You cannot walk around in first person, however. This is where game play seriously differs from some recent predecessors. Overall the game is a great balance of old school meets new school. Think original NES Metroid with 3D graphics and some added game play features.
    Getting through the game varies from too simple to too tough. Most of the complaining I'll do comes from the fact that you need to have a very sharp attention to detail while playing. Often times, you need to notice a tiny 10x10 pixel area or a small object, switch, or morph ball hole that is too burned into the background. So the issue is not on the player's specific attention to detail, but the games. I played it on a smaller 20" LCD monitor. This is always fine for Wii games for me, since there isn't a drastic difference between that and HD. Still, this could be aiding the problem so I accept that and perhaps you need better tech to play Metroid more efficiently. But believe me, you can go into a room of the game and get stuck there for an hour until you realized there was a morph ball hole tucked away behind a superfluous corner of some broken object. In addition, the enemies don't seem to necessarily ramp up my experience. They are either pathetically simple to defeat or require a few minutes of your attention with no in-between. Some will take a single shot from your trusty cannon while others require multiple charge shots. Then there are 'tough' enemies and bosses. The harder enemies are a pain to kill. Most of them require some other mechanic than shooting to defeat, which is fine. It just takes a while. The ones that do require excessive shooting just feel like a waste of time, precious time that you could be using to continue the story!
    Samus has quite the arsenal this time around, too. I think the developers did a great job bringing in some cool new gadgets and ideas. First of all, you don't switch between your weapons like you have in previous games. They simply stack on top of one another. So gaining Ice Beam and Wave Beam causes both affects and a huge damage boost. The Screw Attack returns as well. Once you unlock it, it lays waste to anything you touch - which is nice when you're on the go. Normally, Samus gets the tech knocked out of her in the beginning, causing you to have to find it all again. I admire the design teams breaking away from this, but the way they did it was kind of elementary. Samus is being a 'good girl' and listening to her friend and boss, who asked her not to use her awesome weapons and far superior arsenal in the beginning. Then one by one, he gives the okay. Who in their right mind would not use a super missile on the first few bosses to end it, instead of jumping around for thirty minutes hacking away with single shots?! Ugh. Could have used improvement.
    Anyway - everything else about the game is pretty awesome. From stunning visuals and decent game play, this game is amazing. If you are a Metroid fan, don't skip out on it! If you aren't, this game still delivers some cool action, but maybe check out some game play footage or try it out first.

    There is a lot more I'd love to say about Metroid: Other M, but I wanted to keep this to a minimum. I'll have it out with recent titles I pick up from the store, but I wanted to talk about something and I'm still playing around with Samus.

Friday, September 10, 2010

HFOSS Activity

Background :
    @ RIT, I am currently taking HFOSS (Humanitarian Free & Open Source Software), a course offered for anyone at the school who is interested in generating open source software for underprivileged people around the world. I took this course one year ago to date and now that it has a new course number, I can register again. In Fall of 2009, me and a few other students started a project called Mathematical Adventure: Fortune Hunter. This is an educational math game in being produced for Sugar XO. Long story short - we were warmly received in communities, both local and online and generated a lot of excitement and were offered a job continuing development of the game after the school term had ended. We took it. We made very decent progress during this time and when the next school term ended, the job proposal stayed. In the spring of 2009, some of the team had to take a leave from the project to continue their educational track so they can graduate on time, myself included. A few members took advantage a second time of the job being offered and even got the chance to continue through the summer! I was working for a game design company during this time and again couldn't continue work on Fortune Hunter. Now that the new academic year has begun, I am back in action!

Plan :
    I am looking to continue development of the game for the next few months, if not longer. My plan is to finish and tie up some loose ends and begin converting the game into Spanish. I will post more links to the project page (recently moved) and any pertinent information shortly, so check back soon. I am also being brought up to speed with the project from my absence.

    So please, anyone interested in joining the effort, let me know. The more, the better!

       Fortune Hunter Wiki on Sugar Labs
       Fortune Hunter Wiki on FedoraHosted
       YouTube Channel: maFortuneHunter